WHOA, dudes! It’s January! Anyone for beach cricket, downing a few frothy ones and cheering congestion-free roads?
Can’t we just bask in the glow of that gnarly second half of 2012, where Australian shares did 16 per cent?
No? You’re right. It’ll be June 30 before we know it.
Okay, the first strategy involves noting that cash is dead. The Reserve Bank has cut rates to 40 year lows. And more cuts seem likely.
Get ahead on your home loan. Keep your repayments high and build up a good buffer. You still need a big stash for a rainy day, enough for a 40-day-and-40-night flood of biblical proportions. But outside of that, spare cash might find better returns in investments.
Second, test your expenses. Have you done a health check on your mortgage recently? How about your car, health and home insurance?
Don’t get taken for granted. It’s a “squeaky wheels and oil” sort of thing. Companies will often drop their strides to keep customers. But you might need to complain or threaten to walk.
But don’t just chase a quick saving. Compare quality, it’s often worth paying extra for it.
And, finally, investment. The five-year investment limbo we’ve been in since November 2007 has got to end soon. And being in the game when it does will be crucial. Despite globe financial woes, Australia’s economy seems in good shape.
Shares and listed property had great runs in 2012, but are still way below previous highs. And interest rate cuts and low unemployment should mean that it’s time for some action in residential property this year.
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Prominent financial adviser Bruce Brammall’s background is in journalism, where he spent about 15 years writing nationally for News Limited’s business and news sections. In 2006, he left to become a financial adviser and, in response to the success of Debt Man Walking, started his own financial advice consultancy, Castellan Financial Consulting where he now deals with a national client base.